[Server-devel] Questions for today

Jerry Vonau jvonau at shaw.ca
Tue Aug 6 10:22:09 EDT 2013

On Tue, 2013-08-06 at 15:33 +0200, Tony Anderson wrote:
> On 08/06/2013 03:06 PM, server-devel-request at lists.laptop.org wrote:
> > On Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 12:13 AM, Sameer Verma<sverma at sfsu.edu>  wrote:
> >> >Just noticed that on
> >> >http://wiki.laptop.org/go/XS_Installing_Software_0.7  it says that
> >> >stable version is XS 0.7 and unstable is XSCE 0.3
> >> >
> >> >Is this correct?
> >> >
> >> >Is XSCE to become XS 0.8? I am all in favor of the two projects
> >> >merging, but as I understand it, XS and XSCE are two very*different*
> >> >projects as of now. Some clarification would be great!
> > This question has many interesting implications! While I don't know
> > the answer to your question I do have some more specific follow on
> > questions.
> >
> > Questions about today:
> >
> > If I am a deployment, large or small, looking to deploy a school
> > server, which should I choose? and Why?
> If a deployment has the power for an Atom-based server, then XS-0.7 is 
> the choice today. According the 0.3 release notes, XSCE is only 
> supported on an XO.
> >

Tony, that would be your choice to use XS-0.7, please don't put words in
my mouth, I would use the soon to be released XSCE-0.4 on the same

> > If I am a deployment, large or small, looking to make customizations
> > to my school server, which 'base' should I choose? Should I upstream
> > my customizations or should hold on to them?
> Customization has to used carefully. There is not a system administrator 
> alive who has built a custom server configuration. None of that has any 
> impact on server software development.

I have, XS on F11/F14 and I disagree, it sure does as the underlying OS
evolves, your customisations have to keep up, rpms may need to be
re-compiled and the general adapting to the changes in the OS. 

> For example, adding CUPS to support an attached printer is something 
> that a deployment can do if desired.

or adding Django, content, or anything else someone wanted to pay for. 

> >
> > If I a contributor looking to help ICT4E move forward, which school
> > server should I work on and why?
> >
> I am not sure what ICT4E means (ICT seems to be used in education to 
> mean studying computers as a subject, not using computers to learn).
> There are a number of important items still on the wish list. Adding
> the IIAB content is probably at the top of the list. Providing a way for 
> a deployment to be 'librarian', e.g. with Calibre is another. Finding a 
> way for teachers to make assignments, receive student submissions, mark 
> them, and return annotated copies (digital copybook) is high on the 
> list. Providing an email capability with client software on the XO and 
> an XS facility (e.g. pop3 and smtp) which is capable of
> interface to Internet via removable device. Implementing Wikipedia in a 
> child-safe form with fast full-text search. Providing an effective 
> 'badge' mechanism to honor children who have demonstrated learning.
> There is no lack of things to do.

That is kind of blurring the line between features and system
administration functions.  

> > Questions about the future:
> >
> > Is the XS feature complete? Does it do everything it can to add value
> > to deployments? If there are ways to add more value, is there a plan
> > or funding model to support that development?
> >
> XS-0.7 is a baseline install. The question should be what can 
> deployments usefully install on XS-0.7. If we view every change as
> requiring a new build, deployments are looking at huge expense. In 
> Nepal, Abhishek and I had to download over 10GB of repositories to build 
> XO-0.7 offline. 

I think re-spinning the install iso is not that hard but you may need
more than one CD or switch to the DVD format to fit all the needed rpms.

> That would take a decade at most of the schools I 
> service (average download speed is 5kb/sec - with tens of restarts per
> gigabyte -not to mention loss of sleep restarting).

I agree a fully offline install method is needed.

> > Is the XSCE feature complete? Does it do everything it can to add
> > value to deployments? If there are ways to add more value, is there a
> > plan or funding model to support that development?
> >
> > Questions for OLCP:
> >
> > Are there steps OLPC can do to encourage deployments to fund further
> > development of XS by OLPC developers? Are there steps OLPC can do to
> > encourage direct development of XS by deployments?
> >
> As mentioned, there are server developments at many deployments. What 
> would be great is a co-operative team that would work to provide 
> capabilities in a way that can be distributed widely. I am sure that 
> Peru is working on a method to deliver email via usb drive (and internet 
> cafes). I just don't have any visibility in the method taken, the 
> technology employed, or whether the development can be applicable 
> outside of Peru.

You better have your ducks in a row when it comes to internet email, you
can become subject to rbls and other such anti-spam measures by the isp
or hosting service of the people you might what to email. The email
subject needs to be fully thought out and ongoing support is required.

> > Would it be effective for OLPC to support and fund future development
> > of XSCE or a product based on XSCE?
> >
> > Would OLPC officially endorse XSCE as supported project?
> >
> > Questions for XSCE:
> >
> > What can XSCE do to ensure that it continues to improve by adding
> > values to deployments with each quarterly release?
> >
> > What can XSCE do to ensure future development viability via community
> > support, deployment support, OLPC support, or support through Activity
> > Central?
> >
> > What steps can XSCE do to ensure that is solid base project for future
> > product offerings by: OLPC-A, XS; OLPC-AU, One Network; Plan Ceibal,
> > ?; OLE-Nepal, ?; Activity Central, Dextrose Server.
> >
> > Immediate questions:
> >
> > Is XSCE overstepping by have its wiki at laptop.org? Should XSCE
> > remain in a user space at laptop.org?
> >
> > Should XCE have its own mailing list at laptop.org? Should it continue
> > the current blend ofxsce-devel at googlegroups.com  +
> > server-devel at lists.laptop.org  ?
> >
> > So.... I don't know the answer to your original question. These are
> > the questions that come to my mind when I think about the relationship
> > between XS and XSCE and their future:)
> I think it is fair to assume that OLPC will be involved in continued 
> development of the school server only to the extent required by the 
> deployments it supports. The volunteer community will, as a practical 
> matter, need to take responsibility for it going forward.

Doesn't matter which 'product' you choose, you'll need people with some
sysadmin and diagnostic skills to deploy those servers in the field and
that is not free.


More information about the Server-devel mailing list